Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Alternate Endings vs. Better Beginnings
These are stories we can recite by heart. We know how they begin, how they end, and rely on them to be the same each time we hear them.
It's a comfort thing, the archiving, and sharing of the story the way we know, and love it. It would be a bit unnerving if in another version of the story those three little pig hunted down, and ate the wolf, or Snow White fell for Doc instead of the prince. Unnerving, and not comfortable at all.
So, what's the heck is Hollywood trying to accomplish with "alternate endings" to movies? There have been many movies released in recent years with an alternate ending. If you don't like how it ended, you can change it, and watch another ending. Feel satisfied? No, not really. The original story does stay with you, and anything else is merely a curiosity.
The 2011 movie "Tower Heist", starring Ben Stiller, and Eddie Murphy has been released on DVD, and Blue Ray with two alternate endings.
Why? The endings may have been discussed early in the films production, but abandoned for one reason, or another. So why think to include them on the release?
I think it might be an example of trying to please everyone, but maybe it's something deeper going on. The director may want to share all of his work, and not leave anything hidden away on some shelf, and never be seen again.
Ego may just have a bit to do with it, too.
I don't think we need to make anymore choices than we need to. For most of us, we are one step away from not remembering where we are at any given moment due to living in a modern, busy world. Adding to the confusion is something to avoid, at least for me. I have trouble remembering how yesterday ended, never mind the several endings to one movie.
A true cinema-phile would cherish the alternative endings just as they enjoy the version with the director, and cast commenting on the film as it plays. For people with a normal attention span this version may be fine, but then, there's me, with an attention span the length of a...
...Oooo, look, a rainbow!
Sorry. See what I mean?
I did get to thinking about this whole thing about supplying different versions of something for those that would prefer column "A", and not column "B". It came to me that it would be a great idea if policies, actions, new projects, and such, that are initiated by the town, came with alternate endings, or work-arounds. Something like, if the copper gutter system on the restored town hall proved to be historically nice, but caused the towns residents cough up a hairball in fiscal protest, aluminum could then be substituted without loosing a dime, or time wasted by arguing. Alternate ending. Happy ending.
In the local scenario it would be less about ego, and more about something to please most everyone. That could still be accomplished without alternate endings, if more alternatives were shared during the process, and each actions pros and cons were then shared in detail before coming to a town vote. Not to say that this isn't done to some extent already, but it would be done all the time instead of promoting one particular scenario to us. Let all decide, not the few. The "good, better, best" of each one would be explained. An informed choice could then be made. No more surprises.
Then, when all the alternate "beginnings, and in-the-middles" are shared, and explained in detail to all, and choices are made from the best of all the information, then do-overs (local alternate endings) would, hopefully, not be needed to be done.
And, we all lived happily ever after.